Home Waste Audit

Wondering how you can increase your waste literacy and circularity? Complete our Home Waste Audit and challenge yourself to reduce your waste and increase your waste literacy!

The Home Waste Audit is designed to allow participants to think about how residential waste impacts the global waste footprint. Residential waste is an important piece of the plastic cycle, and how we produce and dispose of our waste affects the amount of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems.


  1. Learn about the waste stream in the municipality where you live. i.e., learn what bins you have (e.g., recycling, landfill, organics) and what goes in each of them.
  2. Decrease your waste footprint and divert waste away from landfill by procuring and using products that you can reuse recycle.  

Ultimately, throughout this project, you will be tracking your waste with a goal to reduce the amount heading to the landfill – which lies at the bottom of the waste hierarchy.

The waste hierarchy – a.k.a. the Solutions Hierarchy for reducing waste!

Interested in participating?

YOU are welcome to join us! Everyone is welcome. All you need is access to the internet, some paper (bonus if you use scrap paper), a pencil/pen, and a healthy dash of motivation. Make sure to watch our Introductory Webinar (below) for instructions and background on WHY to take part in this challenge.

How it works:

The Home Waste Audit takes four weeks, and can be done at anytime. This challenge can be done solo, as part of our hosted group challenges, or you can lead your own group challenge with friends, family or colleagues. The Home Waste Audit includes datasheets and instructions to log your waste and four short online surveys built to track your waste literacy and behaviour during this time. All resources are below.

Our first U of T Trash Team group challenge was held during the period of Wed July 8th – Tues August 4th, 2020. The results of this initial trial can be found below in our Results Webinar (a more complete dataset coming soon!). A second group challenge is also coming soon – stay tuned for more info!

Webinars and Surveys:

If you missed out on our first group Home Waste Audit, catch up with our introductory and results webinars and stay tuned for our next group Home Waste Audit.

Instructions and materials for participation:

Instructional Guide

Datasheets: Datasheet for Landfill Waste; Datasheet for Recycling Waste

Surveys: Survey 1, Survey 2, Survey 3

Waste Reduction Tips

Expected Results and Anticipated Outcomes

The U of T Trash Team Home Waste Audit demonstrates how waste management differs between municipalities, provinces and countries, and how different people make and dispose of their waste. It measures how much waste we divert from the landfill, and characterizes how our waste changes over the course of the challenge. The Home Waste Audit asks questions that help us understand whether we are seeding behaviours that stick, allowing for a long-term impact.